Every year at my Vinitaly, there’s a first-day toast organized by a loosely knit group of Italian wine bloggers and social media users at the Abruzzo region stand.
It’s been an honor and a joy for me to be included over the years. That’s our group in 2019, above, at the last Vinitaly before the closures began in early 2020.
As my social feeds are being flooded with images posted by my American colleagues, some of them already in Italy as they gear up for the fair, my heart is teeming with bittersweetness.
Because I have to be in Italy next month to teach at the Slow Food University of Gastronomic Sciences, I wasn’t able to make the trip this year to the trade fair. Now that Tracie is working full-time, we need to budget our time parsimoniously and a trip to the fair would mean missing a weekend in Houston when Tracie will be showing houses and I’ll be taking care of the girls. (When I go in May to teach, I’m literally going to be on the ground for five days while I teach four seminars.)
One of the most compelling experiences in my post-2020 era has been reconnecting in person and in real time with wine people and friends in Italy and the U.S. I’m so bummed that I won’t be in Verona next week.
But less travel, especially less travel to Europe, is part of our family’s new normal. It’s not a sacrifice, by any means. But it’s part of our new life rhythm. And that’s a good thing. As Tracie has been working, I’ve been spending more time with the girls working on music and doing schoolwork. They both play a stringed instrument, they both take piano, they both perform with the school choir, and they are both girls scouts. So please call me Mr. Mom. I love every single minute of it.
What I wouldn’t give to look for a parking place for an hour!
What I wouldn’t give to stand inline for a stinky bathroom at Veronafiere (the fairgrounds where the event is held), my shoes sopping from the centimeter of liquid on the floor! (Don’t ask.)
And what I wouldn’t do to fight the crowds, the throngs of drunken laypeople, the cigarette smoke (which I really don’t mind but…), the wifi and cell coverage that never work, and the long lines to buy a bottle of water or a sandwich!
Seriously, what I wouldn’t give to see my many friends I’ll be missing next week.
To everyone going to the fair, have a great one! Buona fiera! Buon Vinitaly! But don’t have too much fun without me!